Can early menopause be harmful?

 Can early menopause be harmful?


For multiple women who go through early menopause, the sudden loss of fertility can be ruinous, writes Rhonda Garad, and Amanda Vincent, from Monash University, in this composition republished from The Conversation.

For Mary *, being told she would enter menopause much before expected was a shock.

It was sort of like I would go from thirty-nine rather than turning forty, I would nearly turn eighty. So I would sort of skip forty years.

Around ten percent of women – including multiple who believe they have the prospect of having children ahead of them – are suddenly told they are at the end of their fertile life, and a greater danger of diseases normally associated with middle age.

In the course of our work with women and research, many women have shared their experiences of early menopause. They provide insights into how the physical changes have affected their sense of self and their connections.

What is early menopause?

Menopause refers to the time in a woman’s life when the ovaries stop producing eggs, Menstruation stop, and estrogen levels dramatically drop.

The usual age of menopause, defined as twelve months without Menstruation, is around fifty-one years. Beforehand menopause occurs before forty-five years. Premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), occurs before age forty.

Beforehand menopause can be without warning and the causes may noway be known; although a family history of POI, autoimmune disease, smoking, early development, and social factors are dangerous factors. It can also affect medical care alike as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or the surgical discarding of both ovaries. Except for women who have their ovaries removed, predicting who will experience early menopause is very difficult.

Hot flushes, night sweats, and the rest

The symptoms of early menopause are often almost like those related to usual menopause ( hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbance, sexual problems, fatigue, joint pain, and brain fade), but happen to many youngish women and may be more severe. The problem is that no one expects youthful women to be experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Some women may not have any menopausal symptoms and only experience their Menstruation stopping without warning. Others discover they are unable to come pregnant. Sonia * remembers

Around thirty-five, thirty-six I started to skip Menstruation. I just thought it was stress and overwork, and that kind of thing. But also the gaps between Menstruation got longer and longer, and I started to experience night sweats. And I became concerned at that time, not because I assumed that I used to be going through menopause – it did not occur to me.

Although we expect estrogen as a reproductive hormone, it also plays a crucial role in brain function, particularly memory. Women who experience early menopause oft report frustration at not mentally performing in the way they used to, and also find mood changes difficult to cope with. The explanation for early menopause ( like chemotherapy) and therefore the symptoms experienced (like sleep disturbance) also can impact thinking and mood.

Feeling less than sexy

Early menopause can affect sexual function in multiple ways. Vaginal dryness can cause pain with sexual intercourse. Women oftentimes say they lose the desire for sex, which can strain intimate connections.

Cathy told us she wanted to be left alone

It changed who I felt I was it is hard to be sexy when you are cranky. To think of yourself as a sexual being is difficult when you are experiencing hot flushes every hour and you are going, I do not want anyone near me. All I would like to try to do is feel cool.‘

Losing a future family

For multiple women who go through early menopause, the sudden loss of fertility can be devastating. Jenni remembers going through menopause at an age when multiple of her peers were becoming parents

Watching the joy my buddies were experiencing getting pregnant and giving birth, felt like a special kind of hell. I was so happy for them, but I had to distance myself because it had been just too hard.

Women describe feelings of shock and trauma after being told they were infertile. They feel grief for the children that they had hoped to possess.

Rarely, do women with spontaneous POI I will conceive. For the majority, gestation is only possible with assisted reproduction technology using a donor egg or embryo.

No cure but symptoms are often treated

There's no cure for early menopause and no way to restore egg production. Rather, the focus of treatment is on managing symptoms and the increased dangers of bone and heart disease after menopause.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is usually recommended up until the age of usual menopause to manage symptoms and reduce your danger of heart disease and osteoporosis. The dangers of taking HRT seen in aged women do not necessarily apply to young women. Consult with your doctor about the simplest HRT for you.

If you have not had a period for four-six months (and you are not pregnant or on treatment that stops Menstruation ) also you should see your doctor about whether you may be experiencing early menopause or POI. You can also find doctors who have an interest in women’s health and menopause.

We developed the AskEarlyMenopause website and app to supply accurate information and a discussion forum for ladies to share experiences and obtain expert advice.

Rhonda Garad, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow in Knowledge Translation, Monash University, and Amanda Vincent, Adjunct Clinical associate professor, and Endocrinologist, Monash University.

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